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Take Two: Will Vols nab state's top player for first time since '15?

Chris Morris
Chris Morris (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling an issue in the college football landscape. Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from Rivals.com national recruiting director Mike Farrell and an expert from the Rivals.com network of team sites or a regional analyst.

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CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals100 | Position | Team | State

THE STORYLINE

Last recruiting cycle, Tennessee did not land any of the top-nine prospects from the state. The Volunteers have not landed the top in-state recruit since 2015.

But after a slow start, coach Jeremy Pruitt and his staff have turned a more serious focus to local prospects and there would be no better time to snap that streak than this recruiting cycle. The state’s top player, Chris Morris, is a highly-talented offensive lineman.

The biggest competition for the Memphis (Tenn.) Central standout could come from Texas A&M but the Volunteers are also involved. Morris is the top-ranked offensive guard in the 2020 class and No. 31 overall, clearly in the five-star discussion.

Morris had an excellent offseason, he’s one of the toughest kids in the class, and he lives across the state from Knoxville but still knows the Tennessee program well.

Can the Vols close and land Morris or will he be headed off somewhere else in the SEC?

FIRST TAKE: WOODY WOMMACK, SOUTHEAST ANALYST

"Tennessee has been battling for Morris for quite a while, with Texas A&M shaping up to be the Vols’ toughest competition heading into the fall. Morris has visited both campuses multiple times and took a surprise official to Knoxville just prior to the start of the dead period. Vols coaches and fans were hoping a commitment would follow shortly thereafter, but Morris seems determined to take his recruitment deep into the fall. That will give the Aggies a chance to continue their courtship and use their official card later in the process.

"The Vols have taken a more aggressive approach in the state of Tennessee this year, and it's led to commitments from top talent like Keshawn Lawrence, but losing Morris would still hurt."

SECOND TAKE: MIKE FARRELL: NATIONAL RECRUITING DIRECTOR

“I think he ends up at Texas A&M. Last year, the approach for Tennessee with in-state recruits was a little odd. They didn’t go after some of the top guys as early as everybody else, but the staff learned from that and they’re making the in-state kids more of a priority.

“They can’t have big-time guys leaving the state. They can’t afford that. There are a lot of good players there, but not enough to fill a roster, so they have to keep a lot of good players home. I still think Chris Morris is another one that gets away.”

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